School of Education

Mathematics - PGCE and School Direct


  • Do you have a love of maths?
  • Do you want to engage young people and help change their perception of mathematics?
  • Do you want to help make mathematics accessible to everyone?
  • Do you want to be involved with an internationally recognised community of maths educators?
  • What do these mathematical tasks mean to you?

Our philosophy is that mathematics can, and should, be enjoyed by all children. As a team, we are committed to the view that mathematics should be perceived as a subject which is interesting, creative and challenging and one in which everyone can be successful.

Our course is designed to challenge you to re-think your ideas on mathematics learning and teaching and to experience and develop for yourself a wide variety of styles and techniques to use in the classroom.

We work closely with our colleagues in the internationally renowned Centre of Research into Mathematics Education (CRME) who contribute to the development of, and teaching on, the course.

Our schools partnership has a long and successful history. Our team of maths tutors and our school-based mentors are all experienced secondary maths teachers and our shared vision is that, after a year of working with us, you will be a confident and creative mathematics teacher. 

Meeting the people on the PGCE course and having a cohesive unit where people get on and you can bounce high-level ideas off of each other was one of the best things about the course. That environment was very much encouraged and I love the idea of us going out there ready to change things.

2014/15 Mathematics beginning teacher

Maths course content

Throughout our course, as you explore and experience lessons and mathematical activities, we will be helping you develop your knowledge and expertise in:

  • lesson planning and evaulation
  • managing learning and pupil behaviour
  • monitoring and assessing learning
  • understanding the social context of the classroom and mathematics education

Because of the strength of our partnerships with local schools and the place of initial teacher education in CRME, we are able to offer you unique experiences to support you as you develop as a teacher. 


The didactics of mathematics education

School mathematics is an established body of knowledge. The teacher's job is to take this knowledge and devise tasks which lead to activities that enable pupils to engage with this knowledge and learn new mathematics.

Didactics is how the teacher structures the mathematical knowledge and the decisions they make to take the pupils through a sequence of mathematical ideas. We have a series of University-based sessions which, whilst addressing a specific topic within maths, also equip beginning teachers to understand how to approach teaching any mathematical topic. Find out more about didactics of mathematics education.

Opportunities to work with the Centre for Research in Mathematics Education

Our trainees have access to a range of opportunities to engage with cutting edge research into mathematics education. For example:

Partnership collaborations

We work closely with our local schools and the two regional maths hubs and this enables our beginning teachers to be part of a community of mathematics educators from the outset. Opportunities have included:

  • observing and discussing lessons taught by visiting teachers from Shanghai to explore the idea of mathematical mastery
  • taking all the maths students, with their University tutors to a local school for the day at the beginning of the course to observe a maths lesson and identify what makes an effective lesson
  • 20 free places to the National Mathematics Symposium focusing on mathematical mastery 
  • a conference at East Midlands Maths Hub East for our students and their mentors towards the end of the course to study a lesson and discuss national initiatives in maths teaching

Course tutors

The maths team is made up of experienced colleagues.


Stef Sullivan

Stef Sullivan has been involved in mathematics education for over 25 years and has always been interested in the mathematical journey a pupil takes from the moment they start school. She has taught across the primary and secondary age range, provided continuing professional development for teachers nationally and internationally and has spent the last fourteen years working with trainee mathematics teachers.

Alongside her work with beginning teachers, Stef teaches on a range of other programmes including the International PGCE and a Postgraduate Certificate in Mentoring Beginning Teachers.

As well as being a member of the national associations, ATM, AMET and BSRLM, in 2016 Stef was appointed to the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Association Outer Circle.

Click to listen to a recent interview with Craig Barton where Stef talks about her work and philosophy for working with beginning teachers.

Mark Simmons

Mark Simmons has taught in schools for 20 years, both secondary and primary and held responsibilities as head of year and head of department as well as AST. Since 2005 Mark has worked as a teacher educator at the University of Nottingham, on PGCE, GTP, School Direct and Teach First courses.

Mark loves working with dedicated people who want to be part of the world's most important profession. There is so much to learn, so much to ponder upon and so much to enjoy in education.

Mark has contributed articles to ATM's Mathematics Today magazine and written a book chapter about mentoring maths beginning teachers.

Claire Clemmet

Claire Clemmet is an experienced maths teacher who has been working as a teacher educator for the past five years at the University of Nottingham. As a teacher, Claire worked in a number of different secondary schools, with responsibility for developing the curriculum in maths and also working as a mentor with beginning teachers. Currently, she is the link tutor for the secondary PGCE in Mathematics and also works on other ITE routes.

She is committed to the view that mathematics should be perceived as a subject which is interesting, creative and challenging and one in which everyone can be successful. Her current research interests are focused on supporting beginning teachers to develop their understanding of how pupils learn maths in different ways. She is also interested in approaches to mentoring and works closely with school-based mentors supporting beginning teachers in schools.

She is a member of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics (ATM) and the Association of Mathematics Education teachers (AMET).

Jon Stratford

Jon is a member of the elite group of maths teachers who have taught 100 terms in school.

He has worked in Leicester and Derbyshire, forging strong bonds with the School of Education and the CRME group whilst still a teacher and Head of Maths. Following a period working as a mathematics advisor for the Derbyshire Authority he was persuaded to join our team. He has mentored a number of student teachers in school and has now worked as a tutor for five years, on PGCE, School Direct and Teach First courses. Jon literally paddles his own canoe (a home-built Canadian style boat named 'Life of Pi') and has a unique sense of humour.

CRME Staff

Staff from the research centre most closely involved with the PGCE and School Direct course include Colin Foster, Peter Gates, Jeremy Hodgen and Geoff Wake. Read more about them on the CRME webpage.


How to apply


View PGCE availability and then visit our application guidance page.

School Direct

To apply for a place on the School Direct Mathematics programme you will need to search for a School Direct place on the UCAS-TT website

From the table below, you should identify a placement school in which you wish to undertake your training. When you apply in UCAS you will then need to search for and apply to the relevant Lead School as found in the same table below. The University of Nottingham will be listed as an accredited provider. Visit our application guidance page.

View School Direct placement schools...
Placement schools 
Placement schoolSchool locationPlaces availableLead school
The de Ferrers Academy Burton upon Trent  Available The de Ferrers Academy
Djanogly City Academy Nottingham   Available The de Ferrers Academy
East Leake Academy East Leake  Available The de Ferrers Academy
St John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy Ilkeston  Available The de Ferrers Academy
Chellaston Academy Derby  Available Chellaston Academy
Schools across the Trust Nottingham  Available Greenwood Academies Trust
The Minster School Southwell  Available The Minster School
Schools across the Alliance Derby/Nottingham  Available L.E.A.D. Teaching School Alliance

PGCE details

School Direct details

Student profiles

The Maths Team

  • Claire Clemmet - Maths Tutor
  • Mark Simmons - Maths Tutor
  • Jon Stratford - Maths Tutor

Subject specific staff work with a wider circle of colleagues dedicated to our teacher training programmes including:

  • Stefanie Sullivan - Director of Initial Teacher Education
  • Helen Bowhay - Secondary Phase Leader

Listen to an interview with Stefanie Sullivan, giving you a great insight into our Maths course.

PGCE Maths students talk about why they chose the University of Nottingham.


There are two routes to qualification, PGCE and School Direct. For both routes you will have a University interview.

If you have more than one UCAS application choice for routes and/or schools we are working with, you will only have one University interview.

That one successful interview will result in an offer of a place on the PGCE programme if that was one of your choices, and will lead to your application being instantly sent to all of your School Direct choices (should they have places remaining). This should increase your opportunities of quickly securing a place.



School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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